UNC Lineberger researchers share, learn about latest studies at ASCO Annual Meeting

UNC Lineberger faculty and trainees participated in more than 30 scientific or education sessions at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center was well-represented at this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, the largest cancer meeting in the world. More than 32,000 cancer caregivers, researchers and advocates from across the globe were in Chicago June 1-5 to learn about the latest developments in cancer.

UNC Lineberger faculty and trainees participated in more than 30 scientific or education sessions in which they presented study findings, gave talks on the current state of care and research, or led discussions on data from the meeting.

Ronald C. Chen, MD, MPH, associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology, presented a talk on his study that showed more frequent prostate-specific antigen (PSA) monitoring after prostate cancer treatment was not linked to better survival for those patients compared with patients who were screened once per year.

A number of studies were presented in poster sessions, including by Catherine C. Coombs, MD, assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology and Oncology, who reported that genetic mutations in blood cells that made its way into tumors could mislead physicians looking for genetic changes in tumors that drive the cancer.

Jared Weiss, MD, associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology, shared early data that found patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer who are not good candidates for the standard therapy of cisplatin and radiation experienced low toxicities when treated with the immunotherapy agent pembrolizumab and radiation.

Aaron Mitchell, MD, a fellow in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology, presented data from a study that found physicians who received payments consistently across three years for meals, lodging, or speaking fees from pharmaceutical companies were more likely to prescribe that company’s drug in 2015 for three cancer types: kidney cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia and lung cancer, but not for prostate cancer.

Lisa Carey, MD, physician-in-chief of the North Carolina Cancer Hospital and The Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professor in Breast Cancer Research, was the discussant for a plenary session study that found that women with an early stage of hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer can forgo chemotherapy when indicated by a genomic sequencing test. It was covered by multiple national media outlets, including The Associated Press, which included commentary from Carey.

In multiple education sessions, UNC Lineberger faculty shared their expertise on a wide range of subjects. Ethan Basch, MD, MSc, director of the UNC Lineberger Cancer Outcomes Program and professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology, chaired a session that focused on incorporating patient-reported outcome measures in everyday practice.  Weiss spoke about postoperative chemoradiation during a session on personalizing postoperative treatment for head and neck cancer. Katherine Reeder-Hayes, MD, MBA, MS, spoke in an education session on how to leverage clinical trials and real-world data to inform evidence-based cancer care. Juneko Grilley-Olson, MD, chaired a session on multidisciplinary management of metastatic sarcoma, and Donald Rosenstein, MD, chaired a session on the psychosocial needs of cancer survivors, and the best practices for screening for distress.